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Old 11-11-2015, 03:36 PM
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Default Your Seamless order may have been cooked in a ‘ghost kitchen’ - cited for vermin


Your Seamless order may have been cooked in a ‘ghost kitchen’
By Laura Italiano
November 11, 2015 | 3:53pm

Beware when you order on GrubHub and Seamless — your food may be cooked in a low-grade, or even totally unregulated, “ghost kitchen.”

An investigation by NBC New York found that the restaurant names listed on the food-ordering websites are too often not the restaurant that will actually be cooking your food.

Out of 100 of the top customer-ranked restaurants on the popular sites, just over 10 percent were “ghost” listings whose names or addresses were not in the city’s database of restaurant inspection grades.

The Department of Consumer Affairs says that’s because some legit restaurants are posting multiple fictitious listings to improve their chances of getting clicked on.

The DCA also fears that some of these fake listings may actually be false fronts for people cooking out of their own kitchens or in off-the-grid rogue restaurants.

“Some people might be illegally operating from their apartment, from their home, and delivering to people in complete contravention to department of health regulation,” Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin told NBC.

GrubHub and Seamless, which merged in 2013 but maintain separate websites, are not obligated by law to verify that the restaurants that advertise with them actually exist, the NBC investigation found.

But the restaurants could be liable for false advertising and health code violations, and consumers are ultimately left in the dark about where their food is actually coming from.

In one case found by NBC, orders from a GrubHub listing for “Really Chinese” at 235 E. 31st St. in Manhattan were actually cooked in a restaurant called Abby Chinese located four blocks north.

The East 31st Street listing — a residential brownstone — was just one of several fake listings that the management of Abby Chinese puts up on GrubHub to increase their traffic, the manager conceded to NBC.

Anyone ordering from “Really Chinese” would never know their food is actually cooked at Abby Chinese, which has been cited for vermin six times in the past two years, the station reported.

“When we have one line, it’s hard to compete,” explained Abby Chinese manager Gary Chen. “We know how many lines some of the other restaurants have. It’s an open secret.”
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